Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
Jesus invites us to come to Him for rest when we are exhausted from carrying our heavy loads. Notice there is no condemnation in His offer, He doesn’t point out that we’ve been carrying our burdens all wrong, He doesn’t ask what has taken us so long to bring to Him, He doesn’t expect us to do or fix anything first, He just says come as you are and I will give you rest. Our God is full of compassion and abounding in mercy, and He deeply desires to give us the rest we long to know. He never grows impatient with us or walks away in disgust. He never grows tired of us, and He will never quit because He’s had enough of us. He will never fail to give you all that He’s promised because you’ve messed up. He promises you rest when you are overwhelmed, and He wants to give that to you. He doesn’t expect you to do anything to earn his compassion and mercy, it is freely given. He doesn’t even shake His head at us when He watches us place our burdens at His feet for a few moments, then pick them right back up and walk away again. But what He does offer us in these verses is the way to find His rest, and so many of us gloss right over the instruction.
The mistake we make is we think when He’s calling us heavily burdened people to Him for rest, He’s going to take the burden from us. Let’s be honest—that’s what we want. We pray and we pray for Him to remove the burden because we think that’s how we will find rest. God, if you just get this off my shoulders, I will find your rest and peace. My life would be much easier if you were to take his from me, so here…please take this and make my burden light.
But that’s not what He’s saying here at all. He wants us to learn from Him—He says take my yoke, and learn from me, for my yoke is easy. A yoke is a way to carry heavy objects—it’s a long pole stretched across the neck and shoulders with a place to carry heavy objects off either end, like buckets of water. He’s tells us to look at His yoke and pay attention to how He carries his load. While we’re feeling the weight of all that we’re carrying on our neck and shoulders, He is saying His yoke is light.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” He’s telling us we will find that rest when we learn to carry as He carries. What He’s offering is not a lift, but a way to carry. He’s not offering to take our burdens; He’s showing us how to carry our burdens. And how does He tell us to carry them? By being gentle and lowly of heart. Jesus doesn’t struggle with being heavily burdened because He doesn’t carry things like we do. We create the weight of our burdens by how we choose to carry them.
Jesus offers two ways to lighten our burden—be gentle and be humble. One is an outward attitude—be gentle to other people, and the other is an inward attitude, be humble. In other words, to make your burden with your spouse lighter, be gentle with them; and to make the burden lighter with yourself, be humble.
So here’s the question to ponder: how much of the burden we carry is the result not being gentle or humble? How much of what ends up in my bucket to carry is because I want what’s due me or because I want my spouse to act or be a certain way? How much weight is added to my bucket because of my harsh tone, my complaining, my expectations, how I want to be thanked, viewed, treated? Far too much.
Sometimes God lets us feel the weight of the burdens we create to show us we are carrying things wrongly. Those burdens leave us overwhelmed and exhausted, but He invites us into His rest. He doesn’t need to take the burden from us, but He does show us how to lighten the load. I have been carrying some burdens for so long, dropping them at His feet for a time, then picking them right back up again, that I’ve grown weary of the routine. I am working to change that by learning how to be gentle and lowly as my God, so that my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗